Donald Trump wore a face covering in public for the first time since the start of the coronavirus epidemic.
The President put on a mask during a visit to a military hospital on Saturday.
Leaving the White House, he told reporters, “When you’re in the hospital, in particular … I think he should wear a mask. ”
Mr. Trump flew by helicopter to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the outskirts of Washington to meet injured soldiers and health workers treating patients from Covid-19.
The President was photographed wearing a black mouth and nose as he began his tour of the facility.
The move is important because of Trump’s longstanding refusal to wear a mask at press conferences, coronavirus task force updates, rallies and other public events.
Sources close to him have suggested that he is concerned that a mask will make him weak.
Despite not wearing them himself, President Trump has sent mixed signals about the masks, acknowledging that they would be appropriate if worn in an indoor environment where people were close to each other.
At the same time, he accused journalists of wearing them as “politically correct” and also retweeted messages ridiculing his Democratic rival Joe Biden for wearing one.
The wearing of masks has become a political dividing line in the country, the Republicans being more resistant to their wearing than the Democrats, according to a national survey.
Few masks have been seen at recent Trump rallies in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Phoenix, and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.
The only time Mr. Trump was known to wear a mask was during a private party while visiting a Ford factory in Michigan.